Category Archives: BISM Tabular

Creating Custom Table in SSAS Tabular using Table and Row Constructors in DAX

Dynamic_Measures_in_Card_Visual_-_Power_BI_Desktop

A while ago I was working on a Power BI project which the customer wanted to define a new table directly in the model. The easiest way to achieve this in Power BI Desktop is to “Enter Data” which creates a new table by typing or pasting in new contents. I was thinking of that project the other day and thought, hey, how we can do the same in SSAS Tabular when there is no Power Query (M) language available in SSAS Tabular 2016. The good news is that Power Query will be available in the next version of SSAS Tabular in SQL Server vNext. But, until then a workaround would be entering data to a CSV file then load it to the model. Another way is to implement custom tables in DAX in SQL Server 2016 Tabular models using Table and Row Constructors. In this post I show you a way of creating custom table in SSAS Tabular using table constructors in DAX. You can do the same in Power BI as the same principle applies. Therefore, in case you’d prefer not to use “Enter Data” feature which effectively uses Power Query to create a new table in Power BI Desktop, then you can use DAX to do the same.

Requirements

If don’t already have SQL Server 2016 it’s probably time to download and install it. I use AdventureWorksDW as sample database in this article.

Scenario

You are involved with an SSAS Tabular project and the customer asked for a report in Power BI with dynamic Card so that the values shown in the Card visual should dynamically change based on selected measure from a slicer. You have several different measures in the model and the customer wants to show some of them dynamically in only one Card visual. Consider you have the following measures to be shown in the Card:

  • Total Internet Sales
  • Internet Sales in 2014
  • Total Number of Internet Sales Transactions

You have to create a logic so that the users can selected any of the above measures to show in a single Card visual.

How it works

After you meet the requirements, you’re good to start implementing the above scenario in SQL Server Data Tool (SSDT). Creating a calculated table in SSAS Tabular 2016 is fairly easy. All we need to do is to create a custom table with two columns. One column stores friendly names for measures and the other one holds DAX expressions for the measures. As you might have noticed, I’m talking about creating a custom table in DAX and populating it with values. Continue reading to see how. What we are going to do is to create a calculated table using table constructors in DAX. Table and Row Constructors weren’t available in previous versions of DAX in SSAS Tabular. They are very similar to Lists or a list of Tuples just like what we have in MDX.

I’ll explain this later when we created our sample model in SSDT. Continue reading Creating Custom Table in SSAS Tabular using Table and Row Constructors in DAX

Import Power BI Desktop Model to SSAS Tabular 2016

Import Power BI Model to SSAS Tabular

Note: This article has been updated on June 2017 to support latest versions of Power BI Desktop and SSAS Tabular 2017.

Have you created a robust model in Power BI Desktop and you are looking for a way to import it to an instance of SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular? Hmm, it would be highly beneficial if you could import Power BI model to SSAS Tabular and it potentially saves lots of development time and costs. The good news is that with SQL Server 2016 and SQL Server Data Tools for Visual Studio 2015 it is possible. In this post I show you how to import Power BI Desktop model to SSAS Tabular 2016. Unfortunately, you cannot do the job in any prior versions of SQL Server, SQL Server Management Studio or SSDT.

Requirements

  • SQL Server 2016 Tabular: You can download SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition for free. Check this out for more information
  • SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) 2016: Down SSMS 2016 from here
  • SQL Server Data Tools for Visual Studio 2015 (SSDT 2015): You can download it here
  • Power BI Desktop: Download Power BI Desktop from here

How it works?

The idea is to

  1. Connect to Power BI Desktop model from SSMS 2016
  2. Script the model
  3. Modify the script
  4. Execute the scripts on your on-premises instance of SSAS Tabular 2016
  5. Open the new SSAS Tabular database in SSDT 2016
  6. Modify the model
  7. Redeploy and process the model

Note: Do not close Power BI Desktop until we completely import the model to SSAS Tabular.

Assumptions

I assume

  • You’re familiar with all required tools listed above
  • You’re familiar with SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular models and any corresponding concepts, security settings and so forth
  • You’re familiar with DAX and Power Query

Continue reading Import Power BI Desktop Model to SSAS Tabular 2016

Connect to Power BI Desktop Model from Excel and SSMS

Power BI Desktop Excel SSMSPower BI Desktop is a fantastic report authoring tool. I have lots of experience working with Tableau as well and I can say, man, Power BI is growing very quickly. Lots of awesome ideas have been added to Power BI and a lot more is coming. But, It might be a question for some of you that is that possible to connect to a Power BI Desktop model from Excel, SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) or SQL Server Profiler? The answer is yes, you can. But, how on earth someone should connect to a Power BI Desktop model from Excel, SSMS or SQL Server Profiler? Well, it could be useful for the following scenarios:

  • Connecting to the model using SQL Server Profiler for performance tuning, monitoring and so forth
  • Again, if you have some performance issues you might need to connect to the model from SSMS
  • You have a complex model and it’s hard for you understand it, but, you are a great Excel developer, so you can connect to Power BI Desktop model from Excel so you can use reach features available in Excel like named sets
  • Just for curiosity! You are curious about writing MDX codes over an existing model, you want to see how your model look like in Excel and so forth

In this article I show you how to connect to Power BI Desktop model regardless of any use case scenarios. So for whatever reason you’d like to connect to a Power BI Desktop model this post will help you achieve your goal.

How it works

Power BI Desktop uses xVelocity technology and loads data into memory. It uses a local instance of SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS). It does the job by running msmdsrv.exe file which can be found in “bin” folder under your Power BI Desktop installation folder which is normally under you Program Files. The msmdsrv.exe is indeed the SSAS service file. So even if you haven’t installed SSAS on your machine Power BI Desktop runs msmdsrv.exe. When Power BI Desktop runs msmdsrv.exe it creates a local instance of SSAS. This local SSAS instance uses a random port number so it would be valid until Power BI Desktop is not closed or the msmdsrv.exe is not killed from Task Manager.

Find msmdsrv.exe in Power BI Desktop Folder

So, we have a local instance of SSAS using a random port number. Therefore, we should be able to connect to the instance from Excel, SSMS or SQL Server Profiler only if we know the port number.

Note: If you have installed an instance of SSAS on your machine you can find msmdsrv.exe under “\OLAP\bin” folder from SQL Server installation path:

%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\msasXX.INSTANCE_NAME\OLAP\bin

which XX is your version of SQL Server. So XX would be 10, for SQL Server 2008R2, could be 11 for SQL Server 2012 and so on. The difference between the local msmdsrv.exe file located in your Power BI Desktop\bin folder with the other one you can find under your SQL Server installation folder is that the one which Power BI Desktop runs is a console programme while the other one is a Windows service programme.

How to find Power BI Desktop local port?

There are various methods you can obtain the port number. In this post I explain three of them.

  • Finding Power BI Desktop local port using Windows Command Prompt (CMD)
  • Using DAX Studio
  • Finding local port number from Power BI Desktop temp directory

Continue reading Connect to Power BI Desktop Model from Excel and SSMS

Power BI Enterprise Gateway, Everything You Need to Know

Power BI Enterprise Gateway is release awhile ago (2 Dec. 2015), but, with the latest release on 22 Dec. 2015 Power BI Enterprise Gateway now supports live connections to both SQL Server Analysis Services Multidimensional and Tabular models as well as SAP HANA. In this post I’ll explain lots of important aspects of the Power BI Enterprise Gateway including installation,  configuration for different data sources including SSAS Multidimensional, Tabular and SQL Server Database and much more. If you need to have the lowest possible latency then you need DirectQuery/Explore Live feature on top of your on-premises data sources. The good news is that Power BI Enterprise Gateway now supports all following data sources:

  • SQL Server Database
  • SQL Server Analysis Services Multidimensional
  • SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular
  • SAP HANA

    In this article you’ll learn how to install and configure Power BI Enterprise Gate Way, how to manage different live data sources, how to create reports on top of live data sources and more.

  • Note 1: If you want to use DirectQuery to connect to your on-prem SQL Server Database OR Explore Live your SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular model then you might not need to install and use the Power BI Enterprise Gateway. In those cases you can install Power BI Personal Gateway to connect to an instance of SQL Server OR install Power BI Analysis Services Connector to connect to your on-prem instance of SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular model rather than installing the Power BI Enterprise Gateway. But, bear in mind that selecting the best gateway is really depending on your use cases, your data sources and the environment you’re working on.

  • Note 2: The Power BI Enterprise Gateway and Power BI Personal Gateway CAN be installed on the same machine.

    Downloading and Installing Power BI Enterprise Gateway

    You can download the gateway from Power BI website when you logged in to your account and click on “Power BI Gateways” from the download menu:

    Downloading Power BI Enterprise Gateway

    OR you can go straight to the gateway page then download the Power BI Gateway – Enterprise (Preview):

    Direct Link to Download Power BI Enterprise Gateway

Continue reading Power BI Enterprise Gateway, Everything You Need to Know

Role-playing Dimension in SSAS Tabular Models

First of all I’d like to explain what a Role-playing dimension actually means. Then I’ll express the way you can implement it in a SSAS tabular model.

When you link a dimension to a fact table several times for logically distinctive roles you’re using a role-playing dimension.

The key points are:

1.       You are linking a fact table to a dimension multiple times. The relationships are defined by linking multiple foreign keys in the fact table to a single key in the dimension table.

2.       Each linkage represents a single role or concept

The most popular role-playing dimensions are DimDate and DimTime.

NOTE: The sample is from Microsoft “AdventureWorksDW” for SQL Server 2012 and might be different from your own data warehouse design.

For instance, in a sales system that you have something like FactInternetSales fact table which has several links, or relationships, to a DimDate or DimAddress for distinct concepts like “Order Date”, “Ship Date” and “Due Date”.

As you see, all of the above columns obviously represent different meanings of date. In the data warehouse design you’ll see something like this:

role-playing dimension 01

Although this is absolutely OK in the relational database layer, but, this sort of relationship is NOT permitted in the tabular model, so what should we do?

Continue reading Role-playing Dimension in SSAS Tabular Models

How To Implement a Composite Key In SSAS Tabular Model

As you might know SSAS tabular models do not support composite keys so you always must have just one column to make a unique row through the whole table. This is such a pain especially when you are new to the tabular models and don’t have that much detail information about it. So when you import some tables with existing relationships based on composite keys, the Table Import Wizard will ignore those relationships.

So what should we do to solve the problem?

The solution is to combine the values of the composite keys. 

Here is how you can do the job?

·         Creating a view on top of the source tables:

1.  If you’re using SQL Server 2012 and above you can use the “concat” function to combine the values. The function combines several expressions regardless of their data types. So you can use it like this select CONCAT (1, 1.22100001,‘First’) SQL2012 and the result would be something like this

clip_image001

2.  If you’re using earlier versions of SQL Server then you need to mind the data types. So for the above sample the SQL code would be select cast(1 as char(1)) + cast(1.22100001 as char(10))+‘First’ SQL2008 . As we expect the result is the same.

·         Adding a new computed column to all tables involved in SQL Server before importing the tables to the tabular model

·         Adding a new calculated column to all tables involved after importing the tables to the tabular model

As a quick note, you’ll need to remove the existing relationships imported from SQL Server and create the new relationship based on the combined keys.

Easy peasy!

Resolving “Object reference not set to an instance of an object.” Error When Deploying your Tabular Model

You’ve changed something in your Tabular model and you’re facing an ugly “Error: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.” message, don’t rush. Just go to the table you’ve made some changes and click on “Partitions” button.

image

Then click “Refresh Preview” button and click OK.

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All done!